skull - brain


Senior Member
Do you think in the last two sentences there might be a double meaning for the word skull? Skull as mind/brain/head? Or is it just an idea of mine?

Anthropologists say that the Piltdown Man was stupider than any person of today. Anthropologists are people who are in museums.They lead sheltered lives. The Early Irish left few skulls.The Early Scotch left no skulls.

Source: How to Tell your Friends from the Apes, by Will Cuppy.
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The only part of a person's head that is usually available to archaeologists is the bony part, the skull. The brain and the rest of the head generally decay over time. (There are a few exceptions, such as one chap who was found recently after being frozen in the Alps for a few thousand years, but probably none in Ireland or Scotland.)


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I don't think the attempted humor lies in the wording but in the deductions the reader is invited to establish. For example, by noting that anthropologists are indigenous to museums and thus unaware of the world at large, Cuppy may be suggesting that there are people still living who could challenge Piltdown Man's claim to unparalleled stupidity.

    The humor is extended further, implying that Early Irish or Scottish skulls would also be notable for the level of intelligence that anthropologists might infer from them — perhaps how Piltdown Man might compare favorably to these.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think you will find that the author is suggesting that the size of the skull that covers the brain gives you an idea of how big the brain was: the smaller the brain, the more stupid the person. He must have suggested that "Piltdown Man" had a small brain cavity in his skull - hence Piltdown Man was stupid.

    (You should really look at the Wiki article on Piltdown Man ;))